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Breastfeeding cuts chances of overweight mothers having overweight children, long-term contraceptive use trebles in schoolgirls and exercise makes you smarter.

A round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 30 October

Children born to overweight mothers have a higher risk of being overweight themselves but breastfeeding can help offset the effect, say Nottingham researchers. The Daily Mail reports that being overweight and smoking during pregnancy both increase the chances of a heavy birthweight, rapid weight gain during infancy and being obese as a child. The findings from an analysis of 30 studies and published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood show that breastfeeding and introducing solids late can reduce this risk by about 15%. Study author Dr Stephen Weng said breastfeeding could mitigate the risk of obesity in several ways including reduced calories from breastmilk and parental attitudes. ‘The research shows that breastfeeding your baby compared with never breastfeeding does have a modest benefit.’

The Daily Telegraph today reports that the use of schoolgirls given contraceptive implants and jabs has trebled in some parts of the country over the past two years. It comes from freedom of information figures showing school nurses have administered 900 implants or jabs to girls aged 13 to 16 since 2010. NHS figures, they report, also show a rise in injections or implants given to school-age girls by family planning clinics. Health minister, Dr Dan Poulter, said: ‘Young people under the age of 16 are legally able to access contraceptive and sexual health services and any advice given will be kept confidential. However, the health professional must always encourage a young person to talk to their parents about their sexual health.’

We all know exercise is key to keeping your body in tip top condition, but now researchers say it makes you smarter too. The Daily Express reports that a study from the Montreal Heart Institute showed 40 minutes of exercise twice a week made up of short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by walking or jogging improves cognitive function. The study in middle-aged previously sedentary people found the training boosted their ability to think, recall and make quick decisions, the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress heard. Dr Beth Abramson of the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Canada, said: ‘There are many benefits of exercise – we know it can make us feel better. This suggests it can make us think better as well.’

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